Underneath my yellow skin

When the Physical Affects the Mental

I’m struggling, fam. I find that when I get sick physically, it’s a drag on my mental health as well. I know it’s a truism that the body and mind are connected, but I used to believe that my body was nothing but a meat sack for carrying around my brain. My soul or essence or whatever didn’t even come into the equation. I dismissed it as negligible at best or bothersome at worst. I valuedd my brain above and beyond everything else, and I didn’t much care about my body. To be honest, I abused it terribly, though not through the usual avenues of drink and drugs. I have a history of eating disorders ranging from anorexia to bulimia to binge-eating. I think it’s more a question of control (or a lack thereof) than a matter of food. I felt I had little control over anything in my life, so food was an easy target. Also, I wanted to whittle my body away to nothing because I despised it so much. I also self-harmed with cutting and cigarettes, but I haven’t done that in years if not decades.

I have four tattoos, and they were my way of reclaiming my body, though I wouldn’t necessarily have phrased it that way at the time. I wanted a tattoo for many years before I got one, and true to my nature, I got one on a whim when I finally decided it was time. My BFF and I went to the only tattoo shop opened at midnight, and unfortunately, the tattooist was the nephew of the owner, who was still in training. In addition, Asian skin doesn’t take to ink in the same way white people’s skin does (didn’t know this at the time. There are many things that Asian people don’t react to in the same way than do Caucasians, but that’s another post for another day), so by the time he was done, it was puffy, blotchy, and definitely not the black yin-yang in a sun that I requested. To make matters worse, it was on my chest, so it’s not like I could avoid looking at it. PSA: Don’t get a tattoo on a whim. Fortunately, I found an excellent tattooist years later, and he did a representation of Kali (the mother/destroyer goddess of India, grossly simplified) right over my navel, with suggestions of flames. I was so pleased with it, I commissioned him to do a cover-up tattoo on my left breast. It’s a massive purple and blue lotus blossom engulfed in flames, and I adore it. I got my third in San Francisco–a bracelet of red thorns with flames as ‘charms’ on my left forearm. My final one is from my local artist, and it’s a bracelet of flames and waves on my upper right arm with a yin-yang pendant. Originally, I only wanted flames, but my tattoo artist suggested waves to balance it out and match the yin-yang. Brilliant!

I love my tattoos. I’d say they were the first step in me accepting my body. First, grudgingly, and then, in a matter-of-fact manner. I can’t say I love my body because I don’t. In fact, I would still like to lose weight (and, yes, I have a number in mind), but because of my history of eating disorders, I’m worried about going down that road. Any time I try to diet sensibly, it spirals out of control. For that reason, there are several ‘sensible’ dieting tips that I absolutely can’t follow. One is counting calories. The first time I slipped into anorexia/bulimia, I did this obsessively. I can still tell you what the calorie count is of the foods I used to eat regularly. That’s another thing I tend to do–eat the same thing over and over. It’s part of my OCD tendencies, and it’s partly because I get overwhelmed by choices.

In addition, now that I’m dealing with sensitivity issues, it’s hard to find foods that I can actually eat. I’m dairy-free/gluten-free, and while there are many more options than there used to be, it’s still not easy to find a variety of foods–if you don’t cook. I learned from my taiji teacher that butter has very little lactose (she has a dairy allergy herself), so I tried something with butter in it. My reaction wasn’t as terrible as it is for other dairy products, but it’s not worth it. It’s the same with hard cheese–it’s not as bad, but it’s better just to avoid it altogether. Which is a shame because cheese is the one thing I really miss. I can do without milk and ice cream and yogurt, but goddamn, I miss cheese.

On the gluten side, I really miss noodles. I can still eat rice noodles (yay!), but sometimes, nothing but a hearty plate of fettuccine will do. There are noodles not made with wheat, but I’ve been scared to try them thus far. I grew up with rice noodles, so I know those are edible and tasty. I’m not sure with some of the wheat-substitute noodles out there. Side note: I’ve been watching ProZD, a popular YouTube star (among other things) eat different foods. Mostly ramen, but also Bokksu cakes and snacks. It’s fascinating to me, this idea of watching someone eat food. There’s something called social eating on Twitch in which all you do is watch someone eat. It started in Korea, but it’s made it’s way here. ProZD is Korean, I think. Anyway, it’s fascinating to watch him slurp noodles and talk about how the broth is savory, and noodles are firm, and whatnot. It’s oddly addictive to watch, and it got me thinking. I’m an Asian chick with big boobs. I like food. This could be a gold mine for me, and there’s a twist! I can’t eat gluten and/or dairy, so I wouldn’t be eating what other people eat. I would be eating substitutes, and my focus point would be on which ones are the tastiest. I have to say, one thing you have to do when you can’t eat the regular food is adjust your mindset. I’ve found really good bread and cream cheese substitutes, but I can’t think of them as the real thing. Well, in the past, I couldn’t. Ten years ago, there were decent substitutes, but they didn’t taste anything like the real thing. These days, there are substitutes that come close, really close.

So my gig would be first of all, trying different wheat substitutes because later, I’d want to use them as a base for other substitutes. Weirdly enough, the best-tasting GF bagel I’ve had so far is from Target of all places. The best GF read I’ve found in Cubs! If I get serious about this, I’ll try all different types on camera, talking about texture and taste. Also about structural integrity as one thing a good bread or pasta needs to do is hold up under the fillings. Once I find the best bread and pasta, then I’ll start looking at substitutes for cream cheeses, cheese, sauces, etc. I said above that the thing I miss the most is cheese. It’s also the hardest thing to find a substitute for. Back in the day, all of them were horrid. Now, there are a few that come close, but only if you melt them. There aren’t any that I’d eat by themselves, sadly. Right now, the best cheese substitute is Daiya pepper jack. Fun fact: I keep wanting to call it Daiyu, which is probably because it’s more Asian to me. Anyhoo, they also make the best cream cheeze, especially the chives & onion variety. And, yes, they call it cheeze. The first time I tried the plain type, I was taken aback by the flavor. I wasn’t crazy about it, but the more I ate it, the better I liked it. I especially like smearing it over bagel halves and then adding egg salad or tuna salad or whatnot.

Part of my depression right now is wondering what the hell I’m going to do with my life. I’m at loose ends, and I keep thinking of all the things I could possibly doing, but I’m not doing any of them. I’ve been doing Nanowrimo this year more out of default than anything else because I’ve been writing 2,000 words of fiction a day any way. This year, my goal is to reach 100,000 words, and I’m pretty sure I’m going to make it. But, to what end? I’ve written one novel and have started on my next. I have no problems writing, but I have difficulty with the actual publishing bit. Part of the problem is that I hate the business end of it. I also hate everything I’ve written near the end of when I’m writing it and soon after. I think it’s because I’m so immersed in a novel as I’m writing it, I lose perspective. When I go back re-read things I’ve written earlier, I see it’s actually pretty good.

Weirdly enough, it’s the same way I feel when I mainline a video game. I play for hours on end, only emerging when I’m hollow-eyed and my hands are shaking. When I reach the last third of the game, I’m ready to scratch my eyeballs out. I begin to hate the game and everything it stands for, but I can’t stop playing. I’ve felt this way about every Soulsborne game I’ve played, and I’m starting to feel the same way about Nioh, even though I’m not even halfway done with it yet. I’ve played the shit out of it, and I’ve done every sub-mission so far, plus two twilight missions, plus two of the main missions again, albeit unwittingly. In other words, I’ve played a shit-ton of Nioh. I still have to write the second post about the game, and there are definitely things about it that I don’t like which hinder my enjoyment of the game. Also, as much as I like the concept of different classes of weapons that you can use no matter your stats and increase the power through the concept of familiarity, I rarely stray away from my beloved axe. And magicks. I did vanquish the last boss I tackled with a spear, but that’s because he was in the ocean for much of the fight, and there was a problem with reach.

More on that in a later post.

I’m tired. I’m sad. I’m kinda done. I take two days off social media, and I think I might have to increase that. I was talking about this in taiji yesterday. I know I have to keep up with the news, but social media is such a bubble. There are too many people who live on poutrage, and I can’t do that 24/7. There’s a point in which being outraged becomes counter-productive. I’d say if it’s the only thing you do is sit on social media and complain, then you’re not really doing anything. I can understand needing to vent, but it’s not an end in and of itself. Too many people think that complaining about something is actually the same as doing something about it–it’s not.

I’m fighting off a throat tickle, and it’s energy-sapping. I love fall. It’s my second-favorite season, but one thing I don’t like about it (and winter) is that my immune system is compromised by the cold weather. I think it’s also because people tend to get colds and the flu at this time of year, so I have less defenses against it. For me, a cold or the flu tends to drag out for weeks, if not months. Many moons ago, I used to get bronchitis every winter, and one time, it lasted eight months. I kid you not. In desperation, I went to my doctor and pleaded with her to put me on antibiotics–even though I knew they wouldn’t work. She even said they wouldn’t work, but I begged her to do it, anyway. She did, and guess what? It didn’t help. In fact, it only made things worse because it exacerbated the symptoms.

I need to make some positive changes to my life, but I get bogged down when I look at the big picture because there’s so much I want to change. I need something that will be a stable source of income. I want to lose _______ number of pounds. I want a fuck buddy. I want more energy. Oh, by the way, I found something else I can thank taiji for–helping me block out the pain at the dentist. Anytime the dental hygienist hit a sore spot, I just breathed in and out through my abdomen. It helped a great deal. Speaking of taiji, I want to learn the Sabre Form and the Double Sabre Form. The latter more than the former, quite honestly. I want to be the human Cuisinart.

Anyway. I have a lot to think about, and I would like to put a plan in place by the end of the year. I’ll let you know how I do. In the meantime, here is They Might Be Giants doing a cover of Chumbawamba’s Tubthumping. Enjoy.


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